Highlighting the Issue of Fulani Herdsmen Vs. Farmers
Farmer labouring on his farm.
Many years ago a farmer pursued a she-goat from his farm to its home in our estate and was repeatedly stoning it in the process. The goat ran home and the farmer pursued.
The issue later became a heated argument:
“How did you know it was our goat that damaged your crops?” one member of the family that owned the goat voiced.
“It’s yours I saw it on my farm eating my crops!” the farmer who was noticeably agitated thundered.
And the issue nearly led to fisticuffs. The farmer apprehended the goat without saying “You are under arrest,” and dragged it back to his farm and all of us followed ….
I don’t know how many goats damaged the man’s farm and I don’t know if the farmer actually saw and targeted the goat but he pelted it all the way home but one thing is that the man’s farm was damaged.
But the issue was finally settled.
That picture could be likened to Fulani herdsmen vs. farmer but on a broader scale. Farming and herding in the same area contrasts each other, in that crops are food of cattle more like lion vs. zebra. Sabotage and sabouteurs.
Now many times cattle are in front while herders follow behind and when cattle damage crops that’s losses; untold hardship. It’s like a man’s salary devoured by rats … now if the man sees the rats he would attack and ready to kill and Kill and KILL them over and over again!
Some Fulani herdsmen are good and some are bad just as it’s applicable to all demographics – farmers, clerics, nurses, doctors, transporters, security agents …. Cattle destroy farmer’s crops, that’s debts and if this situation isn’t well-managed it could lead to deaths – of humans.
The farmer is angry due to his losses and may attack the cattle; and the herder may fight back to protect his own assets (direct or indirect); in some cases the farmer may even attack the herder which almost happened in the true-life story I cited earlier.
Debts means troubles, issues therefore if the herder is bad, b-a-d he might attack the farmer to escape with his cattle; like hit-and-run drivers on our roads.
If a member of a ethnic group had issue with a member of another ethnic group it could trigger communal clashes between members of the two ethnic groups and by extension, to many farmers ‘one herder destroyed my farm’ means all herders are guilty and so an innocent herder could be attack to pay for the evil of his ‘brothers’
Figure 6 and figure 9. I’m sure you have a better picture of this issue. Now Government must intervene without taking sides and must compensate one or both sides – depending on whether farm and/or cattle went down and in some cases farmers or herders. Both sides must be supported with loans, facilities … as well.
I believe an attempt to address this issue was what led to Ruga Settlement which had been suspended at least the last time I checked.
Nigeria is a secular country and Governments must be sensitive to the needs, feelings of all sides to contain marginalization, favouritism, nepotism and to avoid being seen as biased.
Whether you’re a political leader, farmer, herder, NGOs not even in Nigeria I’m sure you can source inspiration from this article.
We are from Pearlvision from Nigeria
Photo credit: nigerianfarming.com